Hastily Formed Networks-Chaos to Recovery
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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Historically, response to catastrophic events has failed to reestablish communications rapidly, resulting in an extension of the chaotic response phase. Communication is not simply a support service but an independent strategic imperative within the crisis response system. Current domestic crisis management acknowledges that a communications system is indispensable yet continues to prioritize and utilize communications as a support function. This thesis considers the centrality of the communications system binding complex emerging systems. The goal for crisis response is also to stabilize disrupted and interrelated systems that define a modern society. A communications system is the key element that allows systems to self-organize, adapt, and exert control over the chaos. Defining the role of communications requires an understanding of complexity, chaos, systems, and network evolution. There is a need to change crisis response organizations to reflect a modern understanding of the changing technical environment, and the foundational function communications serves in linking dynamic complex systems. This thesis also identifies the forces unleashed in the aftermath of a catastrophic event and illustrates how the rapid restoration of communications is required for successful crisis response.